Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Eve brings a multitude of memories. Among other memories and military adventures, are memories of being an Air Force Intercept Director. In other words, my job was to use information displayed on a radar scope to direct fighter-interceptors to an intercept with a “bogie” (Air Force lingo for an unidentified aircraft) for identification or, if the bogie turned out to be a “bandit” (hostile aircraft), to shoot it down. I’ve participated in hundreds and hundreds of intercepts, both as an interceptor pilot (F94C) and as an intercept director. Many intercepts were on actual bogies, but most were practice intercepts between friendly aircraft.

Being an intercept director also involved radar surveillance, and that’s where my military Christmas Eve memories come in. NORAD, the acronym for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, in Colorado Springs is responsible for air and space threats against the U.S. and Canada. NORAD is also charge of keeping children informed of Santa's worldwide journey to their homes. One of the far northern radar surveillance sites will “make up” a plot of a blip on their radar, identify it as “Santa Claus,” and call it in to NORAD. In turn, NORAD would send the plots to other radar sites for continued tracking. The military tracking of Santa Claus started about 1955.

My first experience with the tracking of Santa Claus was actually 1955 when I was an Intercept Director at Jitney Control, at the (now demolished) Cape Charles Air Force Station on the tip of the Cape Charles Peninsula in Virginia. The Plotters behind the big plastic screen would write backward with orange grease panics to plot Santa Claus, and we’d report Santa’s progress to anyone who wanted to know. When Santa passed our station, we’d pass off the plot to the next radar site south. We followed the same Santa Claus tradition at other radar control sites where I was stationed: Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, Kotzebue AFS Alaska, Malmstrom Air Defense Sector, at Monkey Mountain and Pleiku in Vietnam, and at Sembach Air Base, Germany.

Another military radar memory of Christmas Eve (and Christmas) in my days of yore was that the officers would man the crew positions of the enlisted men so they could be home with their wives and children. Of course, there were no wives or children in Vietnam when I controlled at Monkey Mountain and Pleiku, but the officers would still - numbers permitting - fill in as many enlisted crew positions as we could to “give the gift” Christmas Eve and Christmas to the “troops.” I assume (I hope) these traditions are continuing tonight and tomorrow at our Air Force radar control sites around the world. Best wishes for a Merry and Blessed Christmas

Note: Photo is of me directing intercepts at Kotzebue AFS, Alaska, where I was Radar Operations Officer and Second-in-Command.


Blogger Tom said...

I was at Pleiku in 1968 & 1970 as a radar operator & tech. I was at Monkey Mountain in 1972 same operation.

7:34 PM  

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